01.03.2012 - 01.03.2012
The last day of our trek was not really a trekking day. We needed to get from Isinlivi to the market town of Saquisili for the weekly market which is known to be one of the most authentic ones in Ecuador. The problem was two-fold. First of all, the distance was far too great to walk, and secondly the only bus leaving Isinlivi was at 3am. Waking up at 2am to catch 3am bus to be at the market at 5am did not appeal to us very much. Thankfully Joanna studied her Lonely Planet carefully and found that there is another way to get to Sasquili and it involves jumping on the back of a milk truck. The approximate 9am (South American time, so give or take an hour) departure time of the milk truck appealed to us far more than waking up in the middle of the night after having hiked for 6 hours the day before.
The milk truck journey turned out to be amazing fun and a great cultural experience. Thinking about a milk truck through our North American paradigm we expected that it would be a vehicle that goes around from house to house or village to village and delivers milk. We were in for quite the surprise since the Isinlivi milk truck does the exact opposite and in hindsight it makes perfect sense. The milk truck goes from farm to farm and COLLECTS milk from the farmers and then delivers the milk to the city. The locals are either standing with buckets of milk to deposit or there is just a bucket of milk sitting there by itself by the side of the road. As the truck stops one of the guys on the back of the truck runs out and deposits the milk in the buckets into the large containers sitting in the truck. The buckets themselves are left behind. I never saw any money exchanged so I am not sure how the depositors get paid and how everyone knows how much each person contributed but it all seems to somehow work.
Here is a short video and some pictures:
Here is our driver picking up some of the more creatively arranged milk buckets:
Here is one of the other passengers on the milk truck:
We finally arrived at Sasquisili in the early afternoon when the market was already winding down. However, we did manage to have an excellent lunch and even bought a couple of ponchos. All in all a very successful and colorful market day.
These giant red bananas were DELICIOUS!